May 18, 2011
Amidst reports that Saif al-Adel, otherwise known as Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi, has been appointed the new al Qaeda leader, a man claiming to be the real Makkawi insists that he has nothing to do with al Qaeda and describes 9/11 as a “fabrication”.
The source for the reports that al-Adel has become the al Qaeda number one, in the wake of the demise of Osama Bin Laden, is one time Libyan militant Noman Benotman, a former jihadi who renounced the ideology in 2002 and has since often been cited as a reliable source on al Qaeda activity by Western media and governments.
The case of al-Adel/Makkawi, however, raises significant questions and will only serve to create more mythology and suspicion concerning the real origins and objectives of the terror group.
Saif al-Adel, literally meaning “sword of justice,” was supposedly the “nom-de-guerre” adopted by a former Egyptian special forces colonel known as Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi. Makkawi was accused of masterminding the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat in 1988, before joining up with the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet invasion.
He is under indictment for participation in the 1998 African embassy bombings and for establishing Al Qaeda training facilities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Somalia. He is also rumoured to have been involved in the USS Cole bombing in 2000. At some point he is said to have become a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden.
So far al-Adel/Makkawi’s reported history fits the bill of radical jihadi fighter. However, here’s where it gets strange.
After 9/11, al-Adel/Makkawi vanished from the face of the earth for nine years.
In 2003, it was reported that al-Adel/Makkawi had been captured in Iran, of all places. The story goes that Iranian authorities had held al-Adel/Makkawi under house arrest since he was detained along with other al Qaeda figures, including Saad bin Laden, son of Osama in 2001. The Iranian government has denied the claims.
“U.S. intelligence officials said the group was detained when crossing into Iran from Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to avoid capture by U.S. forces.” reported the Washington Post.
“The question is, what does house arrest mean in the Iranian context?” said Michael Scheuer, a former CIA analyst who led the agency’s unit dedicated to tracking Osama bin Laden. Scheuer and other analysts said it was likely that Adel and the others were being held by the Iranian government as a bargaining chip as well as a deterrent in its strained dealings with the U.S. government.
“Iran appears to be hoping to exchange al-Adel with Washington, in return for the handover of senior leaders in the anti-Iranian terrorist group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK),” reported The Age in 2003.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
In July 2010, journalist Camille Tawil of the leading daily pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat published a report detailing two letters that had been sent purportedly by Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi, via a third party, to the newspaper.
In the letters, which were also sent to the UN in Pakistan, the man claiming to be Makkawi, outlined in detail that he has no connection to al Qaeda and that his identity is being used synonymously by Western intelligence with the Saif al-Adel figure.
Camille Tawil’s report can be found on the Al Hayat website here. Translating them into English via the web browser reveals some interesting details.
Makkawi, who claims to live in Islamabad, says he fled Egypt after being linked to the attempt to topple the government there in the late 80s. In the letters he says that in 2005 he requested that US authorities receive him and allow him access to a fair trial, following the assertions that he was involved with al Qaeda.
Makkawi wrote that for years after 9/11 the US and Pakistan, which he describes as “puppets in her hand”, as well as al Qaeda and even Iran, pressured him to work with them to “maximize the alleged role the sword of justice, (Saif al-Adel) ” and to be “used as a tool and a client” in the so called war against terrorism.
Furthermore, in the letters Makkawi writes that he was surprised to be linked with al Qaeda and 9/11, given that those investigating the plot, ie the 9/11 Commission, knew it “was a drama”.
Makkawi said that he refused to co-operate as a tool and wished to reveal how “Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders are living a comfortable life under protection in order to blackmail the international community”, and how “the September 11 incident is fabricated”.
Makkawi also wrote that since he refused to “accept the counterfeit identity of the al Qaeda number 3, and the big lie of September 11th”, there have been attempts on his life and the lives of his family. He contends that his name is now “being exploited for hidden motives”.
He also says he has requested aid from the Qatari authorities, and from Saudi Arabia, but has received no response.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organisation riddled with neocons, responded to the publication of this information by writing:
“The strange letters make clear that Makkawi is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, and that he likewise believes that the U.S., Iran, and others have been trying to force him to assume the identity of Saif Al-’Adl for nefarious ends…”
Camille Tawil is no conspiracy theorist, however. Rather he is a respected investigative journalist and expert on Arab Jihadists, having had first hand contact with many key players. This gives the report legitimacy and raises some extremely weighty questions.
In October 2010, Spiegal published a report claiming that al-Adel/Makkawi had suddenly reappeared in Waziristan, in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and was “operating as al-Qaida’s military chief”. The source of this information was… you guessed it, Noman Benotman. The same Western backed source who now claims that al-Adel/Makkawi has become the leader of al Qaeda.
So who really is Saif al-Adel? The so called new al Qaeda leader has all the hall marks of another Goldstein figure in the mould of bin Laden and the former al Qaeda in Iraq figurehead al Zarqawi. The man has not been seen or heard of for close to ten years, his past is shadowy and undocumented, and we have a report from a legitimate investigative journalist documenting claims from Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi that his identity was stolen and molded into the “sword of justice” by Western intelligence as part of a “big lie” that is the war on terror.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.